The unsatisfactoy nature of life is summarized in Buddhism by the “Four Sufferings,” which are birth (called suffering because it inevitably leads to the next three), old age, sickness and death. A more complete explanation of suffering – and a further expansion on why birth is considered suffering – is found in the “Eight Sufferings.” These eight include the Four Sufferings and adds the suffering of being separated from loved ones and other things one desires to keep, encountering people or circumstances that one dislikes, not being able to get things that one desires, and being attached to things that are impermanent, including one’s own mind and body.

Awakening to the Lotus